Hawai'i's best serenade their fans
By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Curtis Lum
Under an intermittent drizzle, music fans last night were treated to the best Hawai'i has to offer as Hawaiian music's five Grammy awards nominees gave a free concert downtown.
The event kicked off a series of "Live from the Lawn" programs at the Hawai'i State Art Museum. The free shows are sponsored by the museum and the Hawai'i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
An estimated 2,000 people filled the museum's front lawn last night to hear the nominees in the Best Hawaiian Music Album category. This is the second year that the Grammy awards will honor local artists.
Raiatea Helm, whose "Sweet & Lovely" is one of the albums nominated, said she was surprised by the size of the crowd.
"I thought it was going to be just us and a few people," Helm said. "I think it's a great thing. It's really nice for them to have more of the outside scenery and everybody gets to come and be a part of it. It's very nice for them to hear our music and I enjoy making people happy."
Helm said she was thrilled to be nominated for a Grammy and looked forward to being in Los Angeles for the Feb. 8 show.
"I'm happy to represent Hawai'i and perpetuate Hawaiian music as much as I can," she said. "It's a great idea to get Hawai'i more out there, and it's so awesome to be a part of that."
Also performing songs from their Grammy-nominated albums were Kapono Beamer ("Slack Key Dreams of the Ponomoe), Ledward Ka'apana ("Kiho'alu — Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar"), Sonny Lim ("Slack Key Guitar: The Artistry of Sonny Lim), and artists from "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar — Vol. 1."
Wilma Naki and her family brought their own lawn chairs and soaked in the music.
"Very rarely do we get to see them like this. It's great, and it's a wonderful setting," Naki said. "I like all kinds of Hawaiian music. I love them all. All Hawaiian, all the time."
Tim Bostock, "Live from the Lawn" producer, said he had no problems getting the five nominees to perform.
"They were so happy to come. They were delighted," Bostock said.
He added that future shows will feature various kinds of music, including opera and rap poetry, but all will involve local artists.
Last night's show will be broadcast Jan. 31 on KITV Channel 4 and on OC-16. The performances also can be seen on the Internet at www.hawaiianclassics.oceanic.com.
Reach Curtis Lum at email@example.com.